I came across the Emily and her Cleanse in 7 healthy eating programme on Instagram – the principles all seemed sensible and aligned with my goals to eat healthily so I thought I would give it a go. The programme is pretty straight forward and you aren’t restricted in how much you can eat which I liked. Emily provides you with plenty of information and direction, with lots of ideas for meals and recipes.
I wasn’t looking to lose weight but to simply have a break and a reset from my usual habits. It’s interesting to take time to reset as it makes you realise what it is that you have become attached to. We can notice what foods and drinks we are using as crutches and start to replace them with healthier options.
On day 2 of the cleanse I woke feeling motivated but really dizzy as I am so used to having a breakfast of granola, fruit and coconut yoghurt first thing , followed by a second breakfast around mid morning of toast and avocado or peanut butter. I had a veggie juice packed with beetroot, apples, broccoli, carrots, celery, lime and ginger but Emily was quick to remind me that this programme isn’t a fast and that I should have a smoothie packed with nutriants which would see me through till midday. I took her advice and the next day I have a smoothie with fruit, coconut yoghurt, coconut milk, nuts and seeds and this did the trick.
I found I missed my go to energy boost of a couple of squares of dark chocolate when I am feeling low, or as a treat at the end of the day so I replaced this with dates and nuts so that I didn’t feel like I was missing out. I realised that my consumption of dark chocolate had been creeping up from a strict 2 squares a day in the evening to a couple of squares after lunch, and maybe 3 or 4 in the evening – almost getting towards a whole bar in a day!! Its so good to take this break to be able to step back and clearly see these habits forming and then be able to find healthier, varied replacements.
The other thing I really missed was sour dough bread – another go to snack for me is toast and there is nothing quite like the satisfying full feeling that bread gives you, especially when the weather is cold. I guessed it was the carbs I was really missing so bumped up my lunch and dinners with brown rice, lentils and quinoa to get that same satisfaction
By day 4 the brain fog descended, just as Emily had predicted and I started to notice myself making some really silly mistakes. I went to a meeting in in the wrong place, all across London as far as you can go West when the meeting was East. My daughter also suffered when I sent her to the wrong after school club on the wrong day. This was a lesson in being kind to myself as I could have easily really beat myself up about it. I also noticed around day 4 a sense of resentment creeping in which was really interesting. When I told a friend they asked who I was resentful towards, and I couldn’t really answer. I was careful not to let the feeling take hold and reminded myself that I was choosing to do this for ME, in order the reap the benefits of 7 days of healthier eating habits.
What I have taken away from the 7 day cleanse is more variety and depth of options to add into my weekly shopping and routine. Vegetables as the basis of my meals – soups, stews, stir fries, curries. Less bread, and chocolate as go to snacks. More wholegrain carbs. Making sure I always have veg and hummus and nuts and fruit for snacking during the day. Being more prepared. Meal prepping for a few days in advance. I found that by being given the limitations of the 7 day cleanse I have become more creative in my diet. Emily is fully supportive throughout the whole process and there is a whats app group connecting you with fellow cleansers so you can share your journey, the highs and the lows. I ended the cleanse feeling full of energy and motivated and launched myself straight into a home project that I had been putting off for weeks. I feel like the energy and motivation is just what I need to take me through to Christmas and the New Year, and then maybe in January I will do the cleanse again.
If you want to find out more head over to www.imagineican.com
Frances Robertson-Ritchie, Yoga teacher and hypnotherapist